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We’ve all been there: that hint of anxiety when you can’t find your wallet. Maybe you left it somewhere. Maybe it was stolen. Either way, it’s gone and you need to know what to do next. Breathe deeply. All is not lost. There are some key steps you can take to start getting what you need.
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Notify your banks and credit card companies
Do this immediately after realizing that you have lost your wallet. If you wait longer than 24 hours, you might need to pay the fees you didn’t charge. Often the first thing thieves do is start to see if they can use your cards. Notifying your bank and the issuing companies of your credit card immediately stops this at the pass level and ensures that you will not be liable for their fees.
Banks and credit card companies will review the latest charges to confirm they belong to you or mark them as unrecognized so you don’t have to pay them. After that they will start the process to get you a new card.
Even if you end up getting your card back, the only downside is a brief wait for a new card, something that is much more tolerable than what might happen if thieves start shopping.
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Get a new driver’s license or identity card
Driving without a license can get you a ticket if you get stopped, not to mention all the other inconveniences that arise if you get caught without your ID. Depending on your condition, you will likely need to go to the DMV to replace your ID. Bring your Social Security card (provided it’s not in your wallet), a birth certificate, and proof of residence, such as a utility bill. Some states will charge you for the replacement of the license, but others will waive the charge if you can prove it was stolen with a police report.
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Replace your social security card
If you had your Social Security card in your wallet, you’ll want to act ASAP. If a thief has your Social Security card, they can open new credit card accounts. So you’ll want to get a credit freeze with Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to make sure no credit cards are opened immediately. It can cost anywhere from $ 2 to $ 10.
The Social Security Administration will issue you a new card, but will not issue you a new Social Security number unless you can prove that you have been the victim of identity theft. In the future, keep your Social Security card in a safe place at home, rather than in your wallet.
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Launch a fraud alert
When you file a fraud alert with one of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), it will notify all three so that more security measures are taken to verify your identity with respect to your credit. Keep a close eye on your credit report to make sure that no suspicious activity occurs, and if so, you can file a complaint with one of the bureaus immediately.
File a police report
While filing a police report can potentially help locate the person who stole your wallet, it’s more important to tackle potential identity theft. If your stolen wallet leads to identity theft, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and complete an Identity Theft Affidavit, but you need a police report confirming the theft to do this. The police report is also essential to replace your driver’s license and social security card to prove that your original documents were stolen..
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Replace all other cards
In all the chaos surrounding the loss of our wallet, sometimes we forget what else was there that we might need to replace. Common documents include insurance cards, proof of auto insurance, AAA cards, library cards, and business ID cards. Make a list of the cards you are missing now and rank them in order of importance, then start browsing the list to replace them. More than likely, the person you talk to will be nice and you can get a replacement card with no hassle, or for a small fee.
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Last updated: October 15, 2021